Share “What do we call them?

What do we call them?
The one name that makes sense: Thunderbirds

by Berry Tramel Published: March 6, 2008
If the SuperSonics move to Oklahoma City (likely), and the name is left in Seattle as part of a negotiated settlement (likely), let me start the debate on a new name for OKC's team.


There will be other ideas.

89ers, though don't bet on that, since Clay Bennett scrapped that name from the minor-league baseball team a decade ago.

Wildcatters, which would play to the oil industry and wouldn't even be confused for Wildcats, since there are no major-league Wildcats in American sport, remarkably enough.

Bandits. Outlaws. Jellicle Cats. All kinds of names will be trotted out.

I like Thunderbirds.

Thunderbirds honors Oklahoma's historic 45th Infantry Division, which long ago adopted the mythical bird as a symbol, and also plays to Oklahoma's American Indian heritage

As an old newspaperman, I like it because it's got all kinds of derivatives. T-Birds. Birds. Thunders. You need that for headline purposes. You can do a lot with Thunderbirds, .

Thunderbirds works politically, too, I would assume, since they are myths, and how can you offend something that doesn't exist?

Marketing? It's a slam dunk. The Thunderbirds playing in the Ford Center? What could be more natural? I know, I know, the Ford Center name is up for grabs if a major-league franchise moves in, but how could Ford — the Oklahoma dealers or the national boys — resist paying big bucks if shiny new T-Birds sat in the lobby and dunking T-Birds were out on the court?

The floor is open. But my vote, for now, goes to Thunderbirds.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
+ show more

Thunderbird was also an American Indian superhero for Marvel Comics. Courtesy:


  1. 1
    Tulsa eighth-grader gets letter from Duke basketball 'Coach K'
  2. 2
    Report: Shaka Smart in talks with Texas over men's basketball job
  3. 3
    Man convicted of murder in shooting over gold necklace sentenced to life
  4. 4
    Gov. Mary Fallin not at Capitol during education rally — again
  5. 5
    Report: Rick Barnes close to landing Tennessee coaching job
+ show more